Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation

Research Unit: Epworth Monash Rehabilitation Medicine Unit (EMReM)

EMReM Summary

The Epworth Monash Rehabilitation Medicine Unit (EMReM) represents a joint initiative from Epworth Healthcare, one of the largest private hospitals in Australia and Monash University. Since its establishment in July 2010, EMReM has operated as a research precinct, supporting clinicians and allied health professionals in higher level degrees, research projects and for clinical trial collaboration. The Unit also promotes ongoing rehabilitation education by organising and sponsoring conferences, teaching sessions and tutorials. Groups of Monash medical students are attached to Epworth Rehabilitation throughout the year.

The Unit aims to conduct innovative medical research to provide insight on best practice in rehabilitation management. This core purpose will inform translational policy and practice which can be implemented in the care of patients in the rehabilitation phase. EMReM consists of 26 healthcare professionals and is growing continuously. Staff include; senior research associates, rehabilitation physicians, research fellows, a research assistant, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and rehabilitation registrars.

EMReM Director, Professor John Olver, Consultant Physician in Rehabilitation Medicine, is Professor in Rehabilitation Medicine in the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash University. He is Medical Director of Rehabilitation and Chairman of the Clinical Institute of Rehabilitation, Psychiatry and Pain Management at Epworth HealthCare. He is also Clinical Director of the Australasian Rehabilitation Outcomes Centre (AROC). In 2014, he was a Recipient of a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) and was awarded “Epworth Research Leader of the Year” in 2015. Professor Olver's main research interests and a focus of publications (exceeding 70 published articles) concerns the outcomes post traumatic brain injury, management of spasticity and innovations in stroke rehabilitation.

Within EMReM, Professor Olver directs and supports higher level degrees and research projects which span across various rehabilitation areas including traumatic brain injury, stroke and orthopaedic injury. Research projects are focused on promoting core outcomes of rehabilitation including: recovery from impairment, easing burden of disease, managing associated sequelae and restoring patients to pre-injury activity levels. Henceforth, EMReM aims to provide continued support for post-graduate degree candidates, develop further national/international collaborations and strengthen academic and research expertise through the dissemination of research.

Current Research Projects

The Consequences of Olfactory Impairment following Traumatic Brain Injury (PhD – Melanie Drummond): The aims of this study are to: identify the incidence of Olfactory Impairment following traumatic brain injury, investigate the natural progression of olfactory dysfunction and identify acute factors that are associated with long term olfactory outcome. A direct translational study result included the commencement of an Olfactory Impairment Clinic at Epworth HealthCare in July 2015. Epworth is the first rehabilitation facility within Australia to offer this type of specialised, diagnostic clinic.

To Establish a Database Recording Patient Outcomes Post Botulinum Toxin Injection for Spasticity from Chronic Neurological Conditions: Spasticity has a complex etiology, and occurs following neurological impairments such as stroke, traumatic brain injury (TBI), cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis (MS) and spinal cord injury (SCI). Current management of spasticity occurs within a designated Spasticity Clinic at Epworth HealthCare. Treatment may involve physiotherapy, occupational therapy, splinting or the use of Botulinum Toxin if spasticity is seen to be a significant problem. The study aims to optimize treatment protocols including muscle selection and dose ranges to achieve better outcomes and greater goal achievement for patients.

The use of a Post Stroke Checklist (PSC) to identify persistent long-term problems amongst post stroke survivors: This study aims to identify the frequency of commonly reported long-term problems in Australian stroke survivors using a scale known as the Post Stroke Checklist (PSC). The PSC consists of 11 long term issues that patients can experience post stroke (e.g. pain, mood, cognitive, communication etc) and identifies the appropriate course of action for each issue. The PSC has been designed to identify common long-term issues and enable a more appropriate mechanism for care for post stroke survivors.